COMMANDER MADISON HALL JR. [1911 – 1991]

04/10/1999 by Melvin Fenoglio, Y2c – USS Little

Republished with permission on 04/10/1999
Copyright 1995 – Melvin Fenoglio

Commander Madison Hall Jr. was born in Runge, Texas March 5, 1911. He entered the Naval Academy from the Sixth Texas District in 1927, was graduated and commissioned Ensign June 4, 1931, and advanced in grade until his promotion to Commander November 1, 1943.

After graduation in 1931 Commander Hall served consecutively on the U.S.S. DORSEY, U.S.S. OKLAHOMA and U.S.S. ALTAIP until June 1938. He was an instructor in the Department of Marine Engineering at the Naval Academy from June 1938 until May 1940 and served as executive officer of the U.S.S. ELLIS from June 1940 until June 1942.

On August 1, 1942, Commander Hall reported for duty as the executive officer of the U.S.S. JENKINS and on July 9, 1943, he assumed command of that destroyer. For service in that command he was awarded the Silver Star Medal with the following citation:

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action as commanding Officer of the U.S.S. JENKINS in the van of a small Task Force during an engagement with enemy Japanese surface forces off Kolombangara Island, Solomon Islands, on the night of July 12-13, 1943. When his ship encountered a covering force of Japanese cruisers and destroyers, Commander Hall (then Lieutenant – Commander ) skill fully maneuvered his ship into position and, in the face of heavy enemy fires launched an aggressive and determined torpedo and gunfire attack in coordination with other destroyers in the task force. While at least four hostile ships were destroyed and two damaged and forced to retire as a result of this actions he and his gallant command brought the JENKINS through the engagement unscathed. His brilliant seamanship and indomitable fighting spirit were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

On May 4, 1944, Commander Hall reported to the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation plant, Seattle, Washington with orders to fit out and command the U.S.S. LITTLE. He went aboard as commanding officer of that destroyer when she was commissioned on August 19, 1944.

Commander Hall was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of the second Silver Star Medal for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving as commanding Officer of the U.S.S. LITTLE DD803. The citation reads:

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving as Commanding Officer of the USS LITTLE during action against enemy Japanese forces off Okinawa on May 3,1945. When his ship was viciously attacked by an overwhelming force of hostile suicide bombers while on picket duty, Commander Hall promptly maneuvered to attack and, sending up a deadly rain of fire against the onrushing enemy, blasted one into the sea before he could launch his strike. With his vessel struck on four separate occasions in spite of all effort to beat off the attackers he continued to engage the enemy until his ship’s guns were put out of action and the cumulative damage caused her to sink. By his courageous leadership, aggressive determination and grave concern for the safety of his ship in the face of tremendous odds, Commander Hall served as an inspiration to all hands on board and his steadfast devotion to duty throughout the fierce action reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.”

Commander Hall was promoted to Captain in 1951. He retired in August, 1961, but, was recalled shortly thereafter to become a member of a special study group studying the Navy at departmental level. On July l,1964 Captain Hall went into final retirement, concluding 33 years of active service after earning five battle stars.

Captain Madison Hall Jr. passed away on 11 – 13 – 1991